Obscie Dieti (Common Kids Foundation) is the name of Inter Campus’s partner in Voronezh. The organisation’s symbol is an elephant, a colourful elephant carrying a happy child on its back.

It’s certainly a nice logo, but it also makes you think. The elephant is a creature that moves slowly and is able to overwhelm any obstacle it comes across. And this is sometimes the feeling that we get when we’re with the children from the three institutions we’re involved in (Sovrasova, Semilukij and Bobrov). We need to be patient and respect the needs of the children, and this is particularly the case for those who require the most attention for psychophysical reasons. Nevertheless, we’re confident that we can slowly but surely make a difference.

Any initial mistrust has been consigned to history, all you need to do is see the enthusiasm with which they greet our instructors Alberto and Juri and the joy they display on the pitch or indoors (when the Russian winter begins to bite), forgetting about their problems for a short while in the process. But the work continues when we’re not there, and important information is given to us by the head of the Sovrasova institution and the school’s psychologist: the children’s academic performance has improved substantially as a result of being able to concentrate for longer periods, something they’ve learnt through the medium of sport.

We’re delighted with this feedback. It shows the importance of our visits every six months but especially the continuous work being done by our very own Alexej and Oleg, who provide physical education every week of the school year.

We then pay a visit to the large Pirelli Tyres facility in the city in order to thank them for the generous support that they provide so that this project benefitting the community can continue. We do this in the company of Alexander Karchenko, our contact person, and then get on the train heading for Moscow. As we sleep while travelling across Russia, we dream of an elephant walking. In doing so, it makes the ground shake, with the result that all the barriers, slowly but surely, start to fall.